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02.02.01 12:09 p.m.

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest."


  -Mark Twain 



Arcane Pathos

NOTE: This entry was created on 3/18/01 from a letter written to Eileen.
(It should be noted, for the record, that I am writing this straight through late at night. I may get very uselessly poetic and nonsensical. Or I may not. But I feel it should be taken into account)
Not that I had much chance of confirming the promise she asked of me, but I did not break it. I read her letter straight through, not omitting one word. Mostly because I had a pretty good idea of where the letter was headed and I was mostly right.
Similarly, I have no doubt in my mind that she already know, basically, what I am going to say in reply. Nonetheless, I am going to give a more concrete confirmation, as she was kind enough to do for me. As concrete as these entries get, I suppose.
I used to be very fond of writing people letters in the same vein as hers to me. Actually, that may not be entirely true. I more of less still do, the letters are just computer bits. And the intention, more of less, is to lay all the cards on the table and see if they are frightened off. Or to frighten them off because I am not quite ready. I suppose I should retort to her letter by showing her my aforementioned hand. There are truly only two cards in my hand that could matter at all, and I doubt believe they do to her. The Magician and The Lovers.

Magician:
I am, not that I expect this will mean a great deal to anyone but me, Pantheistic Zen. I put myself under the umbrella "Pagan" only because it comes closest to how I feel in my heart and soul. I shall explain my beliefs as best I can. I believe that God is a force, not so much an entity. God exists in everything that is, has been, or will be. No matter how much someone may hurt others, God is in them and they are just turning a blind eye to the divinity. Those who are spiritual, have cultivated and embraced the force of God in ourselves. The Zen part of it goes along with the Pantheism, though both are very separate philosophies. Zen states that we are all part of a bigger stream and pain comes from trying to fight against this very natural force. By seeing the patterns that Life affords one, one can be better prepared and more content. This is also why my friends think I am an angel (or at least psychic, which I have limited belief in). I will tend to call them just in a moment of need after they have not heard from me for months or I will stumble upon someone having a crisis because I felt the need to take the stairs instead of the elevator. I feel that the divine works through me and I am more than happy to oblige it. And I am very, very happy being Pantheistic Zen. It gives me an appreciation and acceptance of this wonderful life that so many lack and I am thankful for every moment I am within this world. I am hugely respectful of other people's religions and paths so long as they are pursuing them honestly (aka not making a show of their religion before men), not hurting themselves or others, and it brings them into a loving relationship with their creator, which ever name they choose to give it. While I may not agree with how people may approach their faith, I am bound to accept it else the seed of god that has taken root in their soul may not be nurtured.

The Lovers:
I am not a virgin, as I think you gathered. I have twice had a sexual relationship. Both very committed, with protection, of course. I do regret the first time. I was too emotionally young to fully understand everything and not spiritually strong enough to deal with all that went with it. The first time she tried, I cried for three days and hated myself for letting it get that far. It was not a good relationship for me to be in and I would actually openly tell her that I was trying to get her a soul, which should have been a huge warning sign to me. But I ignored the invisible pull and tried to shut it off entirely for her sake. Were I to have stayed with her, my soul would have died owing to lack of nutrition. When she broke up with me because she had bedded my supposed best friend while I was away for two weeks, I literally fell my soul slam into my body with all the force of six months of neglected invisible tugs. I kind of fell to my knees and wailed. After I made my peace with it, I saw the horrible mistake I had made in letting her get in the way of my soul and my duty to the world and swore that I would never again be so negligent. The second relationship was with Kate. I do not regret it at all. It was beautiful and pure, especially as my soul grew stronger and the beauty of the world filled it. To me, making love is pure and beautiful in a mature, mutually monogamous, intensely loving relationship. To do it otherwise is, to be quite crass and blunt, fucking. Ones soul is not equip to fuck, in my opinion, and will be in torment if one does so. But making love can unite the souls of the lovers in true bliss, I think. I am very sexually respectful however (at least I try my hardest to be). Beyond kissing remarkable girls named Eileen, I do not and would not push. I am certainly not interested in doing anything against her beliefs and character, especially.

So there are my two scary things. Well, there are other things, but these are the two you get right now because they already existed in parts. And this doesn't answer her letter, which I shall now get to.
I am genuinely honored to have been the first male to actually receive the letter written for me by her. That means... quite a bit to me.
When I used to write these kind of letters for people, they other saw a lighter or a garbage can before other eyes could find them. So I am touched, understandably, though the tenor of the letter is not always what I'd most like. I could give my theories on her, and I do have some, but I imagine she has said the same about herself. She seems quite self aware, she did pen (and type) her letter.
I suppose since I have baited you, it is only polite to unfurl what I think. That relationships are scary, scary little conventions, especially with someone as serious (I've been told I am serious, I am going with it) as me. Romantic feelings on the whole are pretty damned scary. I've been edging toward paranoia over how powerless I feel because of Eileen. Even with my experiences, I knew that one word from her could cut me through. And I was having a mite bit of trouble dealing with that after all I've been through in the past months. I still am having slight trouble with her, honestly, though her letter helped. ("Aw, he's being all vulnerable... let's squish him!")
I don't see her as a child she feels she is or a snobby girl in a pea coat (though I think the pea coat is adorable). Or any of the other things that she listed.
I see her as Eileen. The mere mention of her name is mentally accompanied by this collage of images I do associate with her (though it is only flashed on the screen for 15 frames. I was a communications major, I have to do this artistically).
I could go into here what I do see her as, but I am pretty sure she has the idea of that firmly planted in her head. If not, she should reread any one of my letters. Each contains to DNA for exactly why I am allowing my heart be given to her. I am falling for the whole package of my darling. The gel pens, the distaste for chocolate, the love of books, pea coat, your elbow, cheek, eye freckle, voice, the little things and the huge things. Every part is something that I want because they are her.
I am really scared about the feelings I have for her, but I know better than to try to stop them.
What can I tell her to ease her mind? Well, I can tell her that this gets easier very soon. And very rewarding. And it can fulfill her in a way she didn't know she has. Do you want to know something that I doubt she'll believe? Actually, since you have no proof and can't ever really have proof now, I could understand if you did doubt. But I ask you to take me at my word ("call me but love and I'll be new baptized..."). Every time I heard Joseph Arthur singing "In The Sun" since Sunday (the song Eileen has chosen to dub mine), I have thought of Eileen. Truly. So that she chose the song to represent me rather blew me away. Evidently I do not think 100% less of her, as she expected from her off-putting letter. I do not dislike her for trying to push me away. But I don't much feel like being pushed, so I shall stay right here.
When she is ready, she knows where to find me.
I don't think she fits any stereotype, especially as she is evidently conscious enough to know that she feels that she does. Discontented knowledge of being in a stereotype generally nullifies ones membership. She is not at all stereotypical (any stereotype) around me. Who she is around me is the only Eileen I know. And she amazes me and constantly endears herself to me.
She certainly has quite a bit of personality!!!! Not to sounds arrogant (yet knowing full well I am about to), I know that I am attractive and do not have to "settle." You know that I am offered companionship frequently. And I have declined it, as you know as well. Eileen, however, I will not decline. And there is a reason, which I wrote an entire entry about. She stands out so much; I cannot see such trifles as nominal difference and age. Were she as bad as she has made herself out to be, I do not think I would be at all interested in her. Instead I find myself swooning and speaking of her to everyone I know. But I draw no definite conclusions about her, so I shall not be so forsaken.
She is, in herself, perfect to me as she is ceaselessly unfolding like a rose blossom. Not all people are. Some people's petals just fall off and they wither into obscurity. Yet she unfolds still, stunningly. I am not naive. I may call myself a romantic fool, but I am a realist. I do not seek to flatter her to win her hand and heart. I see no need to with her. I tell her what I see and feel so that, maybe, she will see it and I will not be quite so alone in this vision. I know you as no one else has ever known you? Do you have any idea how delectable that is to me? Like a secret society of two.
I completely want her to know me. I write down little stories and anecdotes from my past that I want to share with her so that she will have a bit more light into who I am. Like when I was 10 and got swept out to sea on my body board and my parents had the coast guard looking for me. Or how I held my mother and let her cry into my arms when Ellen died of cancer.
I want to give her the only gift I really have left to give, my whole self. Sorry, no return address was attached. Even as close as I am with Kate, Sarah, and Conor, I want you to know what even they don't. Secret hopes and fears.
I know, she and I are supposed to be playing friends with potential. I am aware and I shall play the game if it makes her at ease.
I trust her as I think I must have trusted Kate. Except, I'm not so innocent as I was. I know what can happen. I could be jaded. I could cut her off because I know just how much this could hurt. I offer this intimacy to her freely, fully aware. Honestly, I'm not totally sure why.
Logically, I have known her in passing for only a few years and closely for only a few months. I should be entirely fearful. I should be apprehensive. Maybe I am a masochist, but I doubt it.
So there is this boy in PA. There is this girl in New Paltz. And another in Red Hook. But I don't want them anymore. Or rather, I need her, not them. Their reality, their hold, fades. She does not have to have a relationship with me other then friend (she is my friend, no getting out of that.)
I do not ever want her to feel subjected to me or my feelings. She is free. I want her to know that my freedom leads me to her. For her to get to know me by all means. Learn of me and us. Do not regret what we do or do not do. All in good time. We are both young and healthy, last I checked. No meteors are scheduled to hit the earth for another 34 years. Jesus' second coming has been put off until further notice. So we have time.
I can't escape her, aside from that I wouldn't want to, as she has made little effort to capture me. But I'll be sorry if she doesn't try someday. I do not and will not dread looking in her eyes. There is still so much more to see in them. Through them.
There is a song by Elliot Smith where he croons "I'm in love with the world through the eyes of a girl who's still around the morning after." I have yet to see the world through her eyes and wouldn't want to miss my chance. I am not moving on any time soon. I have nowhere to go and to my way of thinking, I shall remain here until given reason otherwise. I mean it when I say she is rare and special to me. There are few girls like her. I've yet to encounter one.
I could write a whole entry about how I feel we could be something mutually amazing, so I will not burden you here. She says thing to me that honestly fascinate and touch me (to quote: "I want to be sitting next to you as you read this, to watch you blink your eyes, to see you smile and frown, and to hug you when you've finished.") For that alone, I think I would kiss her.
She think being with me is beautiful. She cries over stories I write about her. Do you know that I have never written a story about another person? She is my first. I have written little bits and pieces of prose and poetry, but never something complete, whole. I would be delighted to write novels about her, provided she can give me enough material to write on.
I want her to be my audience, I want her to be the person I write for no matter what she wants with me.
I pray she does not deny that she took pleasure in the kisses I gave her sooner than she denies that I do touch her or that my story made her cry. That I have affected her positively has enriched my life, even in so sort a time. ("Give, Give, all you do is give, give me a way to show how you've touched me so...")
Even if nothing more comes of any of this than a close friendship, may those kisses be treasured. I felt with her, honestly, as I have never felt with anyone in all my years. I felt swept away. I felt romanced, even if I was the one doing the romancing. So rarely has anyone tried to be romantic to me, despite my obvious proclivity toward it. I felt this way with her and I cannot deny that, nor do I want to. I'm frightened of what I say to her, that I could say the wrong thing. Yet I write her novellas of pathos.
She wants me, this is enough for right now. I want her intensely. The context shouldn't be sussed out entirely in letters. As I said, a touch can speak volumes more. I will not pressure her into a relationship, though I do not hide that I have made the decision that a relationship with her is what I desire. But a friendship first, by all means. I ask only that she not pursue others and I shall swear to you that I will not.
But it is very late and I doubt I am currently lucid enough to be making much sense. All the same, I shall send this entry immediately upon finishing it so that it is fresh and she does not have to fret that I will decline her offer of friendship with potential. I could not bear giving her a moment more of that worry than she needs have.



reading: short stories
listening: the Jendes screaming
wanting:
Eileen's heart
interesting thought: Beauty makes me cry.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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